Las Vegas News

I don't have the resources to cover much Vegas news,
but I post some special items here on occasion.
I do have a page specifically about casino news.
For more Vegas news, I recommend the award-winning insider blog Vital Vegas.

Scorpion stings Venetian guest on the testicles

What more do you need to know beyond the headline? (ABC 7 • 3/24) 

Free drinks to end for low-rollers?

The most famous comp and the easiest one to get has always been free drinks.  You play any game, even penny slots, and the cocktail waitress will bring you as much as you can pack away, one drink at a time.  Well, as of Oct. 2016, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts (which collectively own most of the casinos on the strip) are experimenting with rigging the machines to make sure you're betting enough before they serve you (either by having a light come on to show that you've earned a drink, or else printing out a voucher for a free one).  But I'm skeptical that this will be the end of free drinks for low-rollers.  First of all, most gamblers have earned their free drinks, and the casinos would probably spend more time and money trying to deny free drinks to those few who don't "deserve" them rather than just giving drinks to everyone like they always have.  Second, the cocktail waitresses are the gatekeepers: they earn their living from tips, and couldn't give a flying flip whether you "deserve" your drink as long as you're tipping.  I'm confident that if you wave a dollar around you'll get your first drink, and as long as you tip at least a dollar every other drink they'll keep coming.  Oh, you wonder whether the waitresses would get in trouble for that?  Well, that would require someone supervising them closely to make sure they don't give out drinks to the few patrons who haven't "earned" them.  The labor cost of such supervision would dwarf the cost of just giving free drinks to all.  So, I don't think the waitresses are gonna have managers scrutinizing their every move; it's just too expensive.  (Aug. 2017)

The Harmon Hotel to be dismantled before it even opens!

Here's a unique one:  Due to construction defects, a new hotel is being dismantled piece by piece before it even opens!  MGM Resorts started construction on The Harmon Hotel in 2007, at the time reported to be the largest private real estate development in U.S. history.  But in 2008 an engineer and county inspectors found faulty installation of structural steel reinforcements after about half of the 49 stories had been built.  The construction defects meant that the building would likely come down in the event of an earthquake or even possibly very strong winds.  As a result, MGM had the structure completely disassembled.  Only in Vegas.  Wikipedia  (Summer 2014)

Naughty Sushi

The next time you're in NY NY, take a picture of the "Chin Chin" sushi/Chinese restaurant on the gaming floor.  Because unbeknownst to just about everyone, "Chin Chin" is the child's word for "penis" in Japanese.  (It's the equivalent of "peepee".)  They named the place after a Chinese word but since they also serve Japanese sushi, the naming is kind of funny.  Now you're one of the only people in on the secret!   (August 2011)

Woman wins $2.9 million jackpot -- and keeps playing

With some interesting irony, a woman named Dorothy won the Wizard of Oz slot jackpot at Planet Hollywood recently.   And within minutes she immediately went back to playing slots.  This isn't a rare occurrence -- big jackpot winners often start playing again right after winning.  That makes me wonder, why were they playing in the first place?  Wasn't it to win the big jackpot?  If so, then congratulations, mission accomplished.  You can stop playing now.  Why keep going?  What's the point?  (Dec. 2010)

What's new in Vegas since 2008

 November 2010

Has it been a while since you were in Vegas last?  Here's what's happened in the last three years:

  1. There's now a Strip & Downtown Express bus (SDX).  It's much faster than the Deuce, since it makes only a few stops on the strip.  It also goes to the Convention Center, unlike the Deuce.  See more on our Getting around Vegas page.

  2. Bus fares are way up.  A 24-hour Deuce or SDX pass is now $7, up from $5.  The good news is that the pass can be used on both the Deuce and SDX, and any bus in town actually.  The other price hike is that there's no longer a single-trip fare for the strip buses.  The cheapest you can go is $5 for a two-hour pass.

  3. City Center & Palazzo.  City Center is the new complex next to the Monte Carlo, featuring various hotels, one hotel/casino (Aria), and an upscale shopping mall (Crystals).  Personally I think it adds nothing special, and it makes walking the strip way more cumbersome now that you have to detour up and over various walkways.  Palazzo is a little sister hotel/casino to the Venetian, much like Encore is to the Wynn.

  4. New Rides.  The Stratosphere now has the SkyJump, which lets you literally jump off the tower, skydiving 100+ floors to the ground.  (There's no parachute; you're gliding along guide wires which have a braking system built in.)  But it's pricey at $100 a jump.  Cheaper is the new zip line downtown at the Fremont Street Experience, which for $15 to $20 lets you sail straight down Fremont Street.  (See more on our rides page.)

  5. Dancing girls at the table games.  It seems like most Strip casinos now have at least one pit which feature scantily-clad women doing pole dances.  The dealers are usually scantily-clad as well.

Vegas economy / tourism at an all-time low!

 October 2010

The Vegas economy has been bad before, but it's nothing like this.  The drop after 9/11 seems like a little blip compared to what Vegas is going through now.  Tourism is down, unemployment is around 15%, and partially-constructed buildings are sitting around half-finished, since the money to complete them has dried up.  Gaming revenues in Nevada dropped 10.4% in 2009, the biggest drop ever.  This follows a 9.7% drop in 2008.  Nevada has the highest unemployment in America, and has led the nation in housing foreclosures for the last four years.

But this is actually good news for tourists.  It means there's never been a better time to visit Vegas.  Room rates have hit rock bottom, and lines for everything are much shorter.  Rooms can be had on the Strip mid-week for as little as $24 these days.  See more about the Vegas economy crash at the New York Times.

Vegas performer Danny Gans passes away

  May 2009

Longtime Vegas comic Danny Gans died at age 52 from the combination of drug toxicity and a pre-existing heart condition.

Six workers die during construction of CityCenter

  June 2008

Six construction workers died on the job while building the CityCenter complex.  Workers demanded safety training and safer working conditions, the company refused, so the workers went on strike, and then the company finally relented.  Meanwhile, MGM Mirage blames the deaths on the workers, saying they weren't following safety protocols. (Las Vegas Sun)

Practice gambling with play money

Before you throw down your hard-earned cash in a casino, PRACTICE FIRST!  Learn the games with play money where it doesn't cost you anything if you lose.  Seriously.

You can play Bovada's games (below) right away without registering for an account.  Most every other online casino makes you give up your email address just to play the fake-money games — ugh.  That's the main reason Bovada is the only online casino that gets advertising space on my site.  (When you see the registration box, you can cancel it and proceed to the game without registering.)

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